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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars +1/2 -- Quietly intense, rough-voiced, sweet-sounding Americana, February 17, 2009
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This review is from: Last Exit To Happyland (Audio CD)
Gurf Morlix has produced many of the who's who of Americana, including Lucinda Williams, Robert Earl Keen, and Ray Wylie Hubbard. He's added guitar to works by Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Peter Case and others, and crafted a low-key solo career starting with 2000's Toad of Titicaca. Morlix sings with a bit of Buddy Miller's moan and a bit of Tom Waits' grit, but his confessional exhalations are more the parched tone of a dusty back road than the worn sidewalks of the bowery. He sings here with Patty Griffin, Barbara K and Ruthie Foster, but most impressively, he sings with his own instrumental accompaniment, as he plays everything but the drums (which, as on 2004's Cut `n Shoot, are handled perfectly by Rick Richards).

In less capable hands, a one-man-studio-band can sounds manufactured, with the artist's secondary instruments slaved in tempo and mood to their primary axe. But Morlix approaches each instrument as a native, insuring each instrument's sound has individual depth and character as it's blended into an organic band sound. If you didn't know this was the product of overdubbing, you'd be inclined to think it was recorded live - such is the interplay between the "players." The arrangements and production show the sort of sensitivity to Morlix's songs that could easily be sacrificed in a self-contained project. It's not unusual for a writer to hear a song's musical concept in his or her head, but it's much rarer for the writer to successfully play and produce that sound into reality.

The album opens with a one-time killer's path from armament to remorseful condemnation, freeze-framing the fatal bullet's path, examining it in lyrical detail and tagging it with the conscience-nagging chorus "one more second, was all it woulda took / another thought, a closer look / the thunder cracked, and blood ran cold / one more second, mighta saved my soul." Morlix's facility for description stocks "She's a River" with a dozen metaphors, and the allusive path of "Hard Road" is set upon with the memorable introduction "I set out on my own, look out here I come / Whatever there might be, I was gonna get me some / Pure gun powder, I was ready to explode / The fuse was lit, I was out on the hard road." That same road may be the one Morlix resolutely walks into the teeth of Hurricane Katrina in "Walkin' to New Orleans," and the Crescent City's blues is heard in the restless soul, low-twang and wailing backing vocal of "Drums of New Orleans."

The edge in Morlix's voice works just as well against lighter backings, such as the Shel Silverstein flavored "Music You Mighta Made" and the closing duet with Patty Griffin, "Voice of Midnight." His songs are shot through with fatalism, but their tunefulness and Morlix's inventive production keeps this from devolving into complete darkness. This is a beautifully crafted album from a thoughtful singer-songwriter whose producer and musicians (all of whom happen to be Morlix himself) add perfect musical color to his limited, but deeply soulful, vocal range. 4-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Last Exit to Happyland, December 21, 2011
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This review is from: Last Exit To Happyland (Audio CD)
First heard Gurf Morlix talking about Blaise Foley on 3RRR - bought Blaise Foley's 113th Wet Dream and was impressed with Gurf's special tribute to his since departed friend. Heard Gurf sing 'One More Second' on a YOutube clip and was hooked. Not really any bad songs on Last Exit To Happyland, Gurf manages to craft every song with at least one line that you can't get out of your head. Haven't really listened to a bad Gurf Morlix album. I bought it together with Diamonds and Dust and still can't decide which one I like best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars loved it, February 14, 2014
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This review is from: Last Exit To Happyland (Audio CD)
i don't know why i bought the cd--had never heard of him. but it is one of my current favorites.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Texas Tradition, September 5, 2013
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This review is from: Last Exit to Happyland (MP3 Music)
Years ago (2000) when I first started listening to Robert Earl Keen I kept seeing this guys name all over Robert's cds. He was an instrumentalist, and producer, and a jack of all trades: he had a way of making the songs different by arrangment, choice of instruments, and tempos. It soon became apparent that this guys fingerprints were on a lot of artists productions and well deserved too.
In the same way Slaid Cleaves and Patty Griffin probe the dark side, death, breakups, and the passing of way too much time with nothing to show for it, Gurx delivers some signifigant body blows of his own. In a sense this cd lets you act out without acting out. No one will ever confuse Gurf as a commercially smooth Perry Como, more like a tiger who has not been fed for a week. Yet there is a ferocity in his singing and especially his guitar playing that suits the songs perfectly. There are so few people who dare to buck the tiger but Gurx is one of them....
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5.0 out of 5 stars Last Exit to Happyland, November 6, 2009
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This review is from: Last Exit To Happyland (Audio CD)
This is probably my current favorite cd. This purchase was to buy a copy for a gift. Excellent album - I love it.

Received promptly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Go Gurf !, July 23, 2009
This review is from: Last Exit To Happyland (Audio CD)
I have been a fan of Gurf since I first heard Diamonds to Dust.He is quite the talented person for sure. I love this CD and you will also.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rough and deep, July 22, 2010
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E. L. Green (San Jose, CA, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Last Exit To Happyland (Audio CD)
An acquaintance says of Gurf Morlix's voice, "it sounds like he's been gargling with glass." Gurf's voice has gotten rougher and deeper over the years... and it fits his music just so, so well. This album and his previous one (Diamonds to Dust) are both brilliant albums, with ruminations about morality, mortality, love and life. The album opens with a morality tale, "One More Second", and ends with a song of love and mortality, "Voice of Midnight". Inbetween, Gurf covers territory well worth covering, such as the banality of those who have sold their souls to evil in hopes of getting ahead -- "now I know some people / who sold their souls to the devil / and they don't sound nothin' / like Robert Johnson". Gurf doesn't get any press because he's no youngster, which is a shame, because this is mature music for those who've achieved a level of maturity where they've figured out that easy answers generally aren't. Even if you're not particularly fond of the Austin City Limits style of Texas singer-songwriter music, this album is well worth having.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff, July 15, 2010
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E. PEREA (Albuquerque, NM USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Last Exit To Happyland (Audio CD)
Preview the songs. If they hook you it's your type of music. Heard it on Mojo Nixon's show on XM Outlaw Country. It is not something I think will hit the mainstream but that does not dimish the quality. Best cd I bought all year.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exit to Happyland. Gurf Morlix, November 10, 2009
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Earl R. Godden (coffs harbour Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Last Exit To Happyland (Audio CD)
What a great folow up to Diamonds to Dust, he songs come to life as he sings about real life stuff,theres no doubt he the real deal.
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Last Exit to Happyland
Last Exit to Happyland by Gurf Morlix
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